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847-866-7050
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1524 Simpson Street
Evanston, IL  60201
About FCOG Christian Life Center


Mission Statement

To prepare a people by faith in Jesus Christ thru the redemptive act of salvation and the evolving works of the Holy Spirit, evangelizing and saving the world one soul at a time.

The Vision - Pastor Monte' L.G. Dillard, Sr.

To cultivate a culture of ministry that is a supplier of all things in the Kingdom of God.  To create progression, growth and excellence through love to be available to all across cultural, socioeconomic and spiritual experiences.

Respect -  I Peter 2:17
Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Love - Galatians 5:14
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Peace - Hebrews 12:14
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Forgiveness - Luke 6:37
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.

Unity Ephesians 4:1-5
(1)I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (2) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (3) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (4) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism

 

Habakkuk 2: 2-3 And the LORD answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

The History of Our Church Fellowship

From Turner Church To

Church of God To

First Church of God To

First Church of God Christian Life Center

1910 by Faith to 2010

 
 
The history of the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana, began in 1890, thirty years after the beginning of our nation's Civil War.  It was a time of reconciliation and religious awakening in America.  It was in this climate that Daniel Sydney Warner sensed the revelation for the Church of God, with whom our church is affiliated.  The theme of the church was "Unity and Holiness," and through the eyes of D.S. Warner, this new movement of saints embarked upon a "Quest for Unity and Holiness," and we are still in search of all of its truth, grace and righteousness.

In 1910, some 20 years after D.S. Warner founded the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana, Mrs. Emma Bobo Hill came to Evanston from New York to live with her brother, Mr. James Turner, and his family at 1504 Simpson Street.  His wife, Sara, was miraculously healed of a life-threatening illness by the work and witness of Christ in Emma Hill's life.  After her healing, Sara Turner became the first convert in what was known as the "Turner Church."  Prayer meeting was held in their home and, thus, their home became the first meeting place for the church.

1911
First Pastor of the Church, Lena Cooper.
Turner Church affiliated with the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana.
Turner Church changed its name to "Church of God."

1914
Church moved to a storefront on Ridge Avenue.
Julia Hamilton donated the first organ to the church.

1918
Lena Cooper resigned as Pastor due to failing health.

1919
Rev. William Hill was elected as the second Pastor of the church.

1921
Lena Cooper passed away on July 1. Two lots on the corner of Simpson Street and Ashland Avenue purchased at a cost of $2,400.  During the same year, a wood-framed church building was purchased from the Free Methodist Church on Ridge Avenue.

1922
The church frame was moved from Clark Street and Ridge Avenue to the corner of Simpson Street and Ashland Avenue. The church met for one year in the chapel of the YMCA on Emerson Street, while construction was being finished.

1929
After about 10 years of service, Rev. Willie Hill resigned as Pastor. Sister Mary Turner served as Interim Pastor. Later that year, Rev. W. R. Warren was elected as the third Pastor.  He moved to Evanston from Pennsylvania. Under his leadership the church grew and he became known as the Evanston Community Pastor.

1930-1955 - Growth, Development and Change - The following dates reflect the progress, growth, development and change:

1931
Sister Cecelia Dotson solicited enough materials to have the porch and steps built on the front of the church.  Hines Lumber Company donated much of the lumber needed to complete the project.

1932
Sister Corrie B. Williams, with the aid of about eight saints, had the church decorated for the first time.  Brother Stanley Cranshaw and Brother Frank Summerville put the first lights in the sanctuary.

1933
Pastor and Sister Warren set a goal to pay off the debt which seemed to increase instead of decrease. 

1937
The wood-framed church building was brick-veneered.

1939
Pastor Warren resigned after ten years of pastoral service. Rev. Frank J. Harper was elected as Pastor.

1941
A community day care center and nursery school was started, which used the church building as its home for more than 25 years.  That day care center is still in operation today under the name, Child Care Center, on the corner of Asbury Avenue and Emerson Street.

1943
Pastor and Sister Harper worked faithfully in leading the church to pay off the debt.  On December 28, the church had its Grand Rally and Mortgage Burning Service.

1944
New pews, pulpit chancel furniture, a Steinway grand piano, and carpeting were purchased.

1947
The church purchased its first parsonage, located at 2204 Ashland Avenue.

1953
The church became incorporated under the name First Church of God of Evanston.

1955
After serving for seventeen years as Pastor, Rev. Harper resigned and moved to Los Angeles, California to pastor the Wadsworth Church of God.  He pastored and served there until his death in 1986.

1956 - 1981 A Time To Work, Love and Build - This period of our history must be considered as a time for the church to work, to learn, to love, and to build a new sanctuary.  Although many changes occurred during this period, to the extent that growth tapered off and the church started to decline in members.  A faithful core group remained in place.

1956
  Reverend Curtis Barge was elected as Pastor.  He, his wife Daisy and family moved to Evanston from Jamestown, New York.
Another parsonage was purchased at 1521 Grove Street.

1958
Another building fund was established because of the need for more educational space.

1960
The house adjacent to the church at 1516 Simpson Street was purchased for expansion.

1967
Another parsonage was purchased at 1721 Leland Avenue.

1968
In November, after serving for 12 years, Pastor Curtis Barge resigned and moved to Oakland, California to pastor the Twenty-Third Avenue Church of God.

1969
Rev. James Markgraf was elected as Interim Pastor.

1970
In September, Pastor Carl E. Flewellen was elected Pastor.  He, his wife Mayme and family moved from Hamilton, Bermuda where he had served as a Missionary Pastor for six and a half years.

1973
An additional house was purchased at 1514 Simpson Street to give the needed space for the new sanctuary.

1977
The church finished the new sanctuary addition and held the dedication service on Sunday, October 30.

1981
In July, after leading the congregation for 11 years, Pastor Flewellen resigned, and later assumed the pastoral responsibilities of the Morgan Park Church of God in Chicago, Illinois.




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1983
This, the present period of our history, ushered in with it a new vision that renewed the mission of the church and enabled the people to celebrate God's goodness together.  The theme song adopted by the church for this period was "We've Come This Far By Faith."

1983
Rev. Michael D. Curry entered into the labor of Pastor.  He, his wife Carol and their daughter Shanna, moved to Evanston from Anderson, Indiana.

1985
The church purchased property at 2105 Ashland Avenue for future construction of a parking lot.  The Delmus N. Steward Library was dedicated in December.

1986
Present church membership doubled in growth to 149 members.

Trustee Board and By-Laws were revised.

Board of Directors (23 Members) replaced the eight member Trustee Board.
The church became the overseer of the Food Aid Center of Evanston (F.A.C.E.)

1987
Kingdom Builders Program started for a new building.
Parking lot at 2105 Ashland Avenue was constructed.

1988
Church received the Evanston Ecumenical Action Council Outstanding Community Service Award for its ministry of "feeding the hungry."
In August, the C.V. Champion Parking Lot was dedicated.

1989
Purchased property at 1607 Simpson Street, now known as The Simpson Street Lighthouse.

1990
  The Simpson Street Lighthouse was dedicated in June.

Church membership totaled 240.

1991
  Church stated another building program called The Capital Campaign.

1992
Church purchased property at 2039 Ashland Avenue, commonly referred to as "Mother White's Property."

1993
  Pastor Michael D. Curry received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from the Southern California School of Ministry on June 13.

First Church of God changed the name of the religious corporation to the First Church of God Christian Life Center.

The church adopted the theme "Life By A New and Living Way," based on the Book of Hebrews.

1994
  Ground Breaking Ceremony and Service was held on Sunday, October 2.  The Theme:  1910-1994, "We Are Building Again," for a 750 seat sanctuary and church building.  During construction of the new church, worship services were held at Haven Middle School, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lab School and Lincolnwood Grade School.

1995
  In August, 1995, Rev. Dr. Michael D. Curry, Pastor of the First Church of God Christian Center, was elected President of the Executive Council of the National Association of the Church of God, West Middlesex, Pennsylvania.

1996
  Current membership in September of 1996 was 670 members.

  1997 - 2009 Pastor Curry's Tenure

 
Leading the congregation to build a new 1,200 seat sanctuary.

The first worship service in the new sanctuary was held on Easter Sunday, March 31 with over 1,000 persons in attendance.

Dedication Services for the First Church of God Christian Life Center were held in the new worship center from June 22 - June 27.

Current membership in May, 1997 was 850 members. 

Training and mentoring more than thirty-six ministers including commissioning five pastors.

Establishing new outreach ministries in the local church including substance abuse prevention and treatment, drama, dance, and prison ministries.

Assisting the restoration of men in long-term residential substance abuse treatment centers.

Intentionally growing male presence and involvement in the church.

Growing a loving congregation sensitive to the needs of young men and women.

Entering the struggle of many facing the threat of incarceration.

Earning the informal title of "Community Pastor" for his commitment to minister with open arms to all, regardless of church membership.

Encouraging a communitywide response to the violent death of young African American men which created the Youth Initiative of Evanston, an organization focused on improving opportunity for young men and women.
Partnering with Evanston Township High School to establish the Positive Presence Program which encourages community clergy to be present and available in the high school environment.

June 28, 2009 - After serving the congregation for a little over 25 years, Pastor Curry's season at First Church of God Christian Life center came to a close.  On June 28, he preached his farewell sermon.   He, his wife Carol and family moved to Miami, Florida.  He became the Senior Pastor at Kendall Community Church of God in Miami, Florida.

July, 2009 – Rev. Rosemarie Banks, Rev. Claudia Paden and Rev. Barry Rattray began to serve as the Spiritual Leaders of the church as we transitioned and looked for a new Shepherd.

July 2009 - November 2010 - The congregation was still without a Shepherd.

December, 2010 - Rev. Rosemarie Banks left First Church of God Christian Life Center after hearing from God that her season was over at First Church.

November 14, 2010 - the First Church of God Christian Life Center in Evanston, Illinois voted to accept Pastor Monte’ L.G. Dillard, Sr. as the New Shepherd and Pastor for their house.   Truly God’s hand was in that decision.   Our Moses was dead, and God knew we needed a Joshua to lead us.  Pastor Monte’ L.G. Dillard, Sr. is our Joshua taking us to higher levels, and preparing us for a new dimension for such a time as this.  An anointed, blessed and humble man of God, we are indeed blessed that God has sent him to us.


January 25-27, 2013 - First Church of God Christian Life Center celebrated Pastor Monte' L. G. Dillard, Sr.'s 2nd Year Anniversary.   The Anniversary Weekend included on Friday night a Anniversary Concert, on Saturday, an Old Fashion Family Fish Fry, and culminated on Sunday with an Anniversary Service at 4:00 p.m. with Guest Speaker, Pastor Kevin A. Perry of Word of Life Ministries, Knoxville, TN.